Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. around IU campuses

Jan. 13, 2016

The upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day means time off work for most IU employees. But many IU campuses will host events, activities and opportunities for community service in honor of the civil rights leader. 

IU Bloomington

The fourth annual “Emergent Theater Project Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King” will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at Whittenberger Auditorium in the IMU. Students will showcase their emergency by performing a combination of theatre plays, spoken word, poetry, dance and movement performances highlighting the journey between social justice and self. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

IU will hold events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. on campuses statewide.

On MLK Day, the campus will host its annual “Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Leadership Breakfast” from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Alumni Hall and the Solarium at the IMU. RSVP to mlkjr@indiana.edu for the free event.

MLK Day also marks the beginning of #IrespectU, a weeklong campaign in which each day of the week will represent a different aspect of social identity: humanity, race, sex/gender identity, religion and sexual orientation. The campaign will kickoff Monday with an involvement fair of volunteer opportunities available throughout the year. During the week, students will distribute T-shirts, posters, postcards, buttons and candy with statements of acceptance and respect to promote diversity on the Bloomington campus. 

For lunch, you can join IU Athletics and the IU NAACP Chapter on MLK Day for a luncheon to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Henke Hall of Champions in the north end zone of Memorial Stadium. The event will include “The Dream and The Team,” a discussion about the role of sports in the negotiation and resolution of civil rights issues. Those interested in attending should RSVP to Wesley Jones at joneswj@indiana.edu by Thursday, Jan. 14. 

Then, head on over to IU Political And Civic Engagement’s “Building Civility” event, an interactive, skill-building community workshop, from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday at the Bloomington City Hall Council Chambers. The workshop will explore and teach methods of communication in public life that contribute to civility in public spaces. Contact Lisa-Marie Napoli at lnapoli@indiana.edu for more information.

You can also participate in community service events around town as part of the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence mentoring program and advisory board’s annual Cover Bloomington Project. The event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on MLK Day at four different locations of Interfaith Emergency Winter Shelter: First United Church, First Christian Church, First United Methodist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church. The project will help provide warm clothing and blankets to the homeless in our community. And adult volunteers will have the opportunity to prepare meals, prepare sleeping quarters, assemble care kits, collect canned goods and perform additional tasks necessary for the shelter sites to run properly and efficiently. Contact Natalie Archer at naarcher@indiana.edu for more information. 

MLK Day events will continue into the evening with “Celebrating the Legacies of Martin Luther King Jr.,” a lecture and discussion of King’s examples of leadership, commitment and responsibility and how these can help foster lasting development in the community. The discussion will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in Room 157M of the East Tower of Wells Library.

You can cap off the holiday with an MLK Day film screening of “Cesar Chavez” hosted by La Casa Latino Cultural Center. The film, a 2014 American biopic about the life of Chavez, an American labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers, will start at 6 p.m. in the Latino Cultural Center. 

Complete information about all IU Bloomington events is available at a special Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration website.

IU East

IU East will hold its Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The theme for this year’s festivities is “The Courage of Love,” and the day will feature a keynote speech by the Rev. C. E. McLain at 3 p.m. at Vivian Auditorium in Whitewater Hall. McLain will speak about the history of and his personal participation in the civil rights movement. The event is free and open to the public.

Additional events include:

  • 11 a.m. – A movie screening and discussion of “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” in the Community Room at Whitewater Hall. Snacks will be provided.
  • 1 p.m. – A race game and discussion titled “What Stands Between Us” in Whitewater Lobby.
  • 5 p.m. – A movie screening and discussion of “The Help” in the Community Room at Whitewater Hall. Snacks will be provided. 

IU Kokomo 

IU Kokomo will host a screening of “Boycott,” a film about the events leading up to the 1955 Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Ala., at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, in Kresge Auditorium. Snacks will be provided.

You can also enjoy performances by local church groups and community members at IU Kokomo’s “Let Freedom Ring -- Finding Common Ground” event from 9 to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 819 Appersonway North in Kokomo. The event will include a luncheon and presentation of the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay award winners, as well as free health assessments and education from Community Health Partners. 


IPFW’s “2016 Martin Luther King Lecture” will be held 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, at the International Ballroom in Walb Union. The event will feature speaker the Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., spiritual home of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 


IUPUC will host a luncheon and presentation titled "A Welcoming Community: Living the Dream," featuring IU's Margo Foreman and Kim Kirkland, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at the Lecture Hall in the Columbus Learning Center. The event is free and open to the public.


IUPUI will honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s commitment to service and social justice on Saturday, Jan. 16, at the 16th annual MLK Day of Service, themed "Stand Up, Speak Out." Hundreds of students, faculty and staff are expected to join together in a day of service across Indianapolis to work with more than a dozen community partners. Participants will be assigned to small groups and engage in pre-service reflection and educational activities before departing to an assigned service site. The 2016 community partners include organizations such as Exodus Refugee Immigration, the Ronald McDonald House and Faith Hope Love. 

Political activist, scholar, author and educator Angela Y. Davis will deliver the keynote address during the 2016 IUPUI dinner honoring the legacy of MLK Jr. Organized by the Black Student Union in partnership with the Office of Student Involvement, the annual IUPUI Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner, now in its 47th year, will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St., in downtown Indianapolis.

IU Northwest 

IU Northwest’s departments of African-American and African diaspora studies and minority studies, in partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, invite the campus and community to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Thursday, Jan. 14.

At 6 p.m., Jared Ball, associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, will give a free discussion on “Movements for Change: The Civil Rights Movement, and Black Lives Matter” at IU Northwest’s Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium in the Savannah Center. Ball is an author, radio host and mixtape radio producer. 

IU Southeast

A breakfast and panel discussion will be hosted by the City of Jeffersonville Dr. M. L. King Jr. Holiday Committee and sponsored by IU Southeast. The annual event, held 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 16, at IU Southeast’s Hoosier Room, raises scholarship funds for graduates of Clark County high schools. Corporate table sponsorship opportunities are available, and tickets are sold in advance. Contact Renee Baines at myrarbaines@aol.com for more information.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the campus will show a free screening of “Get on the Bus,” a 1996 film directed by Spike Lee about a group of African-American men who share an interest in participating in an historical moment, yet are sharply divided on many social issues. IU Southeast’s Joseph S. Grant of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will serve as moderator of the event, which will start at 7 p.m. in Hoosier Room East. 

MLK Day celebrations continue into the week with a reenactment walk from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, at IU Southeast’s McCullough Plaza. The symbolic walk is intended to represent the importance of advocacy for civil and human rights, with concluding comments from Chancellor Ray Wallace. The inclement weather location is the Activities Building.

On Jan. 20, IU Southeast will also host a “Voices of Change” speech contest featuring exemplary persuasive speeches from the top five class representatives of 2015 public speaking. The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in University Center, Room 127.

The Louisville Orchestra’s “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Concert” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in Richard K. Stern Concert Hall at the Ogle Center. Tickets are free for the performance celebrating King’s life and legacy, but reservations are required, so call 812-941-2525 to secure your ticket. 

Concluding the celebrations, Jil Jordan Greene, vice president of human resources and community relations at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, will give a presentation titled “Dr. King’s Dream or Nightmare?” from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 21 in Robinson Theater at the Ogle Center.

IU South Bend

For the first time, the choirs of IU South Bend will perform the entire first half of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Marvin V. Curtis, dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts, will conduct this portion of the concert, which will feature two of his own compositions, along with “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” by Adolphus Hailstork, with visiting tenor Maurio Hines. The concert was created by Curtis when he came to IU South Bend in 2008. 

Also for the first time, the concert will be held 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at the Morris Performing Arts Center in downtown South Bend and not on campus. The second half of the concert will be led by South Bend Symphony Orchestra Conductor Tsung Yeh and will feature the Junior Division Winner of the 2015 Sphinx Competition: 15-year-old violinist Hannah White. Tickets are only $5 for adults and free for students of all ages and children. Tickets are on sale at The Morris Box Office.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, join IU South Bend’s Darryl Heller, director of the Civil Rights Heritage Center, for a teach-in as part of events surrounding MLK Day. Heller, an associate professor of labor studies; Paul Mishler; and others will discuss one of King’s most radical and profound speeches: “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.” The teach-in will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Civil Rights Heritage Center, 1040 W. Washington Street in South Bend. The forum is free and open to the public.

-- Compiled by Andrea Zeek, anzeek@iu.edu

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